VNPS Home

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

Early Explorations of
Elephant Ears
(Magnolia macrophylla)

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

A Personal Note

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

2020 Wildflower of the Year: Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

Photo by W. John Hayden

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Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Mountains with Flame Azaleas

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

Photo by Nancy Vehrs

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Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Eupatorium at Bull Run

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

Photo by Brigitte Hartke

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News & Updates

Purple Passionflower Pops in Summer: Read Betsy Washington's new blog post from the Northern Neck. 7/30/2020

• Piedmont Wildflower of the WeekWhat is this fragrant member of the Onograceae family that shines best at sunset? 7/25/2020

• New Video: Marion Lobstein and Sally Anderson present an Overview and How To on the Flora of Virginia Mobile App. 7/13/2020

• The Atlantic Coast Pipeline project has been canceled. See more about opposition to the project and the VNPS Resolution opposing the project. 7/5/2020

• VNPS Guidance for Walks/Events during the COVID-19 Pandemic. The health and safety of our members is very important to us. Time out-of-doors is part of a healthy lifestyle both physically and mentally. However, during this COVID-19 pandemic, we must be mindful of the importance of social distancing to minimize the spread of the disease. For example, during regular guided native plant or botanical walks, participants often gather around a specific plant as the leader discusses it. Therefore, we recommend erring on the side of caution and suspending guided group walks until health conditions in your area permit such gatherings. Please follow the recommendations of the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.

While we will leave the decision to chapter leaders about holding walks, the VNPS suggests virtual or self-guided walks and events in the interim. For example, some chapters have flagged walks, virtual walks, Zoom presentations, flower of the week emails, and more to engage the public. 6/10/2020

The Summer 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now online. Read about the pandemic's challenges and changes for the Natural Heritage Program and for VNPS events and activities, and how nature offers solace for us all. Meet our Conservation Chair Alex Fisher and learn about the autecology of Wild Geranium by Botany Chair John Hayden. 5/22/2020

• The First 10 Years of VNPS: How We Began. This account of VNPS and Potowmack Chapter beginnings shows that volunteers can make a difference with knowledgeable leaders, willing associates and continuity of purpose. 5/12/20

Pinxterblooms: Performing Now! Read Betsy Washington's latest blog post. 4-23-20

25 Years of the VNPS Bulletin Are Now Online. We just added almost all issues of the Bulletin from 1989 to 2009 thanks to the Internet Archive. Be sure to browse our updated Bulletin Archive. 4/18/20

• Due to CDC recommendations and other ongoing closures related to the Coronavirus outbreak, we have cancelled the March 14, 2020 event ‘Earth’s Climate: Present, Past & Future'.  We regret having to make this decision, and hope to be able to offer this program at another time. We will refund registration fees. [More information] 3/11/2020

• The Spring 2020 edition of Sempervirens is now available. Read about our upcoming Annual Meeting in Abingdon, the VNPS Mission, and more. 3/3/2020

• An updated version of the popular Wildflowers for Butterfly Gardens brochure is now available to download. 2/19/2020

• VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why. 12/29/2019

• Piedmont Chapter Curlyheads Flower T-Shirts are now available for sale! These are beautiful shirts though in limited quantities. 10/24/2019

• VNPS Member Harry Glasgow Honored by Prince William Conservation Alliance.

• The VNPS mourns the loss of its founder, Mary Painter, on October 6, 2019. View more information and Mary's obituary.

• Support our Annual Fundraiser: Plant Virginia Natives!

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Purple Passionflower Pops in Summer

By VNPS Communications | July 30, 2020

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter Driving along sandy roadsides and fields of the coastal plain in summer, it is always a delight to find our native Purple Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata), a deciduous vine with dark green, three-lobed leaves and exquisite, showy flowers and edible fruit. This vigorous vine is native to the southeastern United… [Read More]

Early Explorations of Elephant Ears (Magnolia macrophylla): A Personal Note

By VNPS Communications | May 26, 2020

By Marion Lobstein From the age of 9, I grew up as Marion Louise Coble in Stanley, NC from 1955 through 1968. As a child I explored the woods about my home on North Peterson Street. An intersecting street was East Poplar where I found a woody plant with very large leaves. I even pressed… [Read More]

The First 10 Years of VNPS: How We Began

By VNPS Communications | May 12, 2020

By Ed Ballard, 1992 This retrospective account of VNPS and Potowmack Chapter beginnings shows that volunteers can make a difference with knowledgeable leaders, willing associates and continuity of purpose. In April 1982, District Naturalist Susan Allen (now long-range planner) with the Fairfax County Park Authority enlisted plantsperson Mary Painter to conduct three meetings at County… [Read More]

Pinxterblooms: Performing Now

By VNPS Communications | April 23, 2020

By Betsy Washington, Northern Neck Chapter As I write in mid-April, the lovely Pinxterbloom Azaleas (Rhododendron periclymenoides) are blooming along our roadsides, stream-sides and on forested slopes around Northern Neck. Found from New York to Georgia, these graceful deciduous shrubs flaunt eye-catching clusters of tubular rosy pink flowers at the tips of their branches. If… [Read More]

Elizabeth Rawlinson: Virginia Plant Pioneer

By VNPS Communications | April 7, 2020

By Nancy Sorrells Almost a century ago, a bright, intelligent woman named Elizabeth Rawlinson roamed the Augusta County countryside in the southern Shenandoah Valley looking for plants and writing about her observations of the natural world. She was a well-known horticulturalist and writer and, and I would also categorize her as an early Shenandoah Valley… [Read More]

Book Review: Nature’s Best Hope by Doug Tallamy

By VNPS Communications | February 16, 2020

By Sue Dingwell In his new book, Nature’s Best Hope, Dr. Doug Tallamy has delivered a deep and powerful wellspring of inspiration for the many people craving an opportunity to be part of transformative change for our challenged world. Even more compelling than his first book: Bringing Nature Home, a seminal work in itself, Nature’s… [Read More]

Wildflower of the Year 2020 Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)

By VNPS Communications | January 22, 2020

Wild Geranium is a woodland perennial herb. Plants emerge from stout, shallow, rhizomes bearing knobby leaf scars and thin roots. Aerial stems attain heights of 2 to 7 dm; stem hairiness ranges from a few scattered trichomes to densely pubescent. Leaves are crowded basally, but well separated and opposite on flowering stems. Overall leaf shape… [Read More]

Downy Lobelia: An Overlooked Garden Native

By VNPS Communications | January 7, 2020

By Betsy Washington Several of our native Lobelias are well loved and absolutely beautiful. Cardinal Flower with its brilliant red flower spikes, and Great Blue Lobelia with its crowded spires of deep blue flowers, are familiar to many gardeners. Downy Lobelia (Lobelia puberula), which is less well-known, graces roadside ditches, low and upland woods, riverbanks… [Read More]

Trees & Sky - Photo by Mike Belknap

VNPS Funded Research Reveals Which Trees are Dying and Why

By VNPS Communications | December 29, 2019

Editor’s Note: This post describes the 2019 research project conducted by Alyssa Terrell and supported by a VNPS Research Grant and was edited for publication. Our Research Grant Program awards funds for well-defined projects whose results can be evaluated and which address the VNPS Mission and Goals. Learn more about the Grant Program and how… [Read More]

Pawpaws And The Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly

By VNPS Communications | October 9, 2019

By Mary Lee Epps Pawpaws have a great deal to offer—handsome flowers in the spring, delicious and highly nutritious fruit in the early fall, plus they are the only host plant of one of our most beautiful butterflies, the zebra swallowtail. Our pawpaw (Asimina triloba) is the northernmost member of the mostly tropical Annonaceae (or… [Read More]